Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Directed by Crystal Liu
DC Shorts Film Festival Showcase 3
If audience response means anything, Speed Dating was definitely an audience favorite in showcase 3. It definitely received the most laughs and Crystal Liu had the privilege of being there for all of them, which I think is a great feeling for any filmmaker.
As for the film itself, I thought it was brilliantly put together and genuinely hilarious in its presentation. The film tells the story of an attractive young woman who is desperate to find companionship in a very lonely city. It begins with a run through of her typical day, starting with a long and arduous commute through California traffic. When she arrives at work, it seems as if none of her coworkers have time to talk to her. The desk receptionist is on the phone gossiping. The people in the break room are too engrossed in gossip to acknowledge her. Her answering machine sadly reports that she has no new messages. At this point, I wasn't sure if this film was going to leave me laughing or crying by the end.
When she gets home from work, she finds a message waiting for her on her answering machine. Her friends invite her out to a club to relieve her of her loneliness. When she goes however, she only gets more of the same. Her "friends" are absorbed in their own conversation, while she sits and drinks alone. I'm still wondering how this is going to end, by the way. She decides to leave after downing a few cocktails, and proceeds toward her car. (Gasp!) She starts it up and begins to back up, and BAM! She hits someone. Oops. The man turns out to be fine, in many senses of the word. After a soothing conversation with "Mr. Hot Super-Attentive guy" as he is called in the program's description, she is inspired to begin a new campaign to find a date.
This is where it gets good. The next morning, she buys a slew of first-aid supplies, gussies herself up, and gets in her car (with a fully stocked passenger area complete with champagne). Her mission: "Accidentally" hit guys on the street with her car to find her prince charming. Her plot is very revealed in a cleverly constructed freeze-frame sequence (as seen above) that felt almost like a video game in the way the icons appeared over the heads of the potential targets. In the Q&A session, Liu named this as her favorite part of the film, and I agree.
Who knew that vehicular battery could be so funny? In a montage fashion, the film runs through the myriad of encounters, each a little bit different but equally hilarious. One wails in pain and berates her the whole way to the hospital, another tries to walk it off, a third calls his mommy. This sequence definitely produced the most laughs from the audience (and me, clearly). The humor is non-stop and never gives you a break, which only makes the laughter in the theater grow more infectious with each cut.
In the end though, she doesn't find her prince charming. With a turn back to the depressing, she calls her friend and leaves a sobbing voice message about how hard it is to find a guy in the city and BAM! She disappears from the frame with a thud that sounds a lot like a body hitting car hood. The audience was in a quite state of shock at this point. The scene cuts to an upward shot of the sky, and mens' faces begin to appear.
"Are you alright, maam?" says the first.
"I'm a paramedic, are you alright?" says another.
"Well, I'm a doctor, are you alright?" says another.
"I'm a lawyer, are you alright, miss?" says another with a smirk and a wink.
Laying on the pavement, she smiles and whipsers "Thank you!" to the sky as the film ends.
Thank you, Crystal Liu, for making car accidents not only funny, but romantic and satisfying as well. Who knew?